|Henry VIII of England|
King Henry VIII after Hans Holbein the Younger, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
|Born||28th June 1491|
Elizabeth of York
|Reign||21st April 1509 –|
28th January 1547
|Died||28th January 1547 (aged 55)|
|Spouse(s)||Catherine of Aragon|
|Children||Mary I of England|
|House||House of Tudor|
Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547) was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France. Henry was the second monarch of the House of Tudor, succeeding his father, Henry VII
Besides his six marriages, Henry VIII is known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. Henry's struggles with Rome led to the separation of the Church of England from papal authority, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and establishing himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Yet he remained a believer in core Catholic theological teachings, even after his excommunication from the Catholic Church. Henry oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542.
Henry was considered an attractive, educated and accomplished king in his prime and has a reputation as "one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne", Besides ruling with absolute power, he also engaged himself as an author and composer. His desire to provide England with a male heir—which stemmed partly from personal vanity and partly because he believed a daughter would be unable to consolidate the Tudor Dynasty and the fragile peace that existed following the Wars of the Roses, led to the two things for which Henry is remembered: His six marriages, and the English Reformation(making England a mostly Protestant nation). In later life, he became morbidly obese and his health suffered; his public image is frequently depicted as one of a lustful, egotistical, harsh, and insecure king.
Early years: 1491–1509
Born at Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII was the third child of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York and their second son. Of the young Henry's six siblings, only three — Arthur, Prince of Wales; Margaret; and Mary — survived infancy. He was baptised by Richard Fox, the Bishop of Exeter, at a church of the Observant Franciscans close to the palace. In 1493, at the age of two, Henry was appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. He was subsequently appointed Earl Marshal of England and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland aged three, and was inducted into the Order of the Bath soon after. The day after the ceremony he was made Duke of York; a month or so later he was made Warden of the Scottish Marches. In May 1495, he was appointed to the Order of the Garter. Henry was given a first-rate education from leading tutors, becoming fluent in Latin, French, and at least some Spanish and Ancient Greek. Elizabeth of York, his mother, died when Henry was aged 11. Not much is known about his early life – save for his appointments – because he was not expected to become king. In November 1501, Henry also played a considerable part in the ceremonies surrounding the marriage of his brother, Prince Arthur, to Catherine of Aragon.
In 1502, Arthur died at the age of 15, after only 20 weeks of marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Arthur's death thrust all his duties upon his younger brother, the 10-year-old Henry, who after a little debate succeeded him to the Dukedom of Cornwall in October 1502, and the Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in February 1503. Henry VII gave the boy few tasks. Young Henry was strictly supervised and did not appear in public. Scarisbrick says he ascended the throne "untrained in the exacting art of kingship."
Henry VII renewed his efforts to seal a marital alliance between England and Spain, by offering his second son in marriage to Catherine, youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile. Both Isabella and Henry VII were keen on the idea, which had arisen very shortly after Arthur's death. On 23 June 1503, a treaty was signed for their marriage, and they were betrothed two days later. A papal dispensation was only needed for the "impedement of public honesty" if the marriage had not been consummated as Catherine and her duenna claimed, but Henry VII and the Spanish Ambassador set out to obtain a dispensation for "affinity", which took account of consummation. The young Henry's age, only eleven, prevented cohabitation and the parties were thus required to wait. Isabella's death in 1504, and the ensuing problems of succession in Castile, changed Catherine's position. Her father, Ferdinand, preferred her to stay in England, but Henry VII's relations with Ferdinand had deteriorated. Catherine was left in limbo for some time, culminating in Prince Henry's rejection of the marriage as soon he was able, at the age of 14. Ferdinand's solution was to make his daughter ambassador, allowing her to stay. Devout, she began to believe that it was God's will that she marry the prince.